High School Football Players with Improper Equipment Will Be Removed for One Down

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                         Contact: Bob Colgate

INDIANAPOLIS, IN (February 8, 2018) — Players in high school football who are detected with missing or improperly worn equipment during playing action will be removed from the game for at least one down, unless the improper equipment is directly attributable to a foul by the opponent.

This revision in Rule 1-5-5 and other related rules was one of five rules changes for the 2018 season recommended by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Football Rules Committee at its January 19-21 meeting in Indianapolis. All changes were subsequently approved by the NFHS Board of Directors.

Rule 1-5-5 also states that if the player is wearing otherwise legal equipment in an illegal manner, the participant must also be replaced for one down. If proper and legal equipment has become improperly worn through use during the game, and prompt repair does not delay the ready-for-play signal for more than 25 seconds, the repair can be made without replacing the player for one down.

In a related change (1-5-4), the head coach is responsible for verifying that all players are legally equipped and will not use illegal equipment. The penalty provisions for any use of illegal equipment remain unchanged and result in an unsportsmanlike foul charged to the head coach.

“I commend the entire football rules committee for its thoroughness and focus on the state of the game of football,” said Todd Tharp, chair of the NFHS Football Rules Committee and assistant director of the Iowa High School Athletic Association. “The committee recognizes that the state of high school football focuses on risk minimization and the responsibility that coaches, players and game officials play in continuing to protect our student-athletes. By emphasizing that the coach is ultimately responsible for assuring his players are using legal equipment by issuing an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for violations and that players will be removed for using legal equipment in an illegal manner, the committee continues to focus on minimizing risk for all players.”

The second rules change approved by the NFHS Football Rules Committee provides another option for teams in Rule 6-1-9 on fouls committed by the kicking team during free kicks and scrimmage kicks. Now, the receiving team can accept a 5-yard penalty from the succeeding spot. The previous three options remain: accept a 5-yard penalty from the previous spot and have the kicking team re-kick, put the ball in play at the inbounds spot 25 yards beyond the previous spot, or decline the penalty and put the ball in play at the inbounds spot.

Bob Colgate, NFHS director of sports and sports medicine and liaison to the NFHS Football Rules Committee, said this additional option was approved by the committee in an effort to reduce re-kicks, further minimize risks and ensure that appropriate penalties are in place for all fouls.

“The ability to ‘tack on’ penalty yardage on free kicks will potentially reduce the amount of repeated free kicks,” Tharp said. “In addition, this rule change is consistent with NFHS rules that no foul should go unpenalized.”

The third change approved by the committee was a revision related to the examples of a defenseless player. In Rule 2-32-16a, the committee clarified that defenseless player provisions do not apply to a passer until a legal forward pass is thrown. The passer continues to be a defenseless player until the pass ends or the passer moves to participate in the play.

The committee also changed the signal for free-kick infractions, other than encroachment of the neutral zone, from Signal 18 to Signal 19.

The final change approved by the NFHS Football Rules Committee concerned six-player football in Rule 3. The timing rule between periods and intermission for six-player football has been standardized to match the current NFHS rules for 8-player, 9-player and 11-player football.

A complete listing of the football rules changes will be available on the NFHS website at www.nfhs.org. Click on “Activities & Sports” at the top of the home page and select “Football.”

Austin’s Asa Martin named 2017 Mr. Football by Alabama Sports Writers Association

MONTGOMERY — Austin’s Asa Martin was named the 36th recipient of the Alabama Sports Writers Association’s Mr. Football Award Tuesday at the ASWA’s annual Player of the Year Awards luncheon, presented by the Alabama High School Athletic Directors and Coaches Association. The luncheon was held at the Renaissance Hotel at the Convention Center in Montgomery.

Martin, a 6-foot-1, 205-pound senior running back, rushed for 2,228 yards this season on 198 carries with 33 touchdowns, while adding two more scores and 399 yards on 20 receptions. The Black Bears went 12-1 on the year before losing 51-50 in the quarterfinals in overtime to eventual state champion Pinson Valley. Martin also rushed for more than 1,300 yards as a sophomore at Austin, but attended school out of state as a junior.  Martin graduated in December and is attending Auburn.

Martin, who was also named the ASWA’s Class 6A Back of the Year for 2017, finished with 170 points and 10 first-place votes in ballots cast by the ASWA’s prep committee, while Pinson Valley quarterback junior Bo Nix was second with 144 points. Thompson quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa, selected Class 7A Back of the Year, was third with 143. Both Nix and Tagovailoa had one first-place vote, while Central-Phenix City wide receiver Justin Ross — who finished fourth with 111 points — had two firsts. Beaureguard’s La’Damian Webb, the 2016 Mr. Football, and 2017 Class 5A Back of the Year, was seventh with 64 points, behind Park Crossing’s Tank Jenkins (66) and Thompson’s Ahmad Edwards (65). All were named to the ASWA Super 12. Rounding out the Top 12 were offensive lineman Pierce Quick, Hewitt-Trussville; running back Jermaine Brown, St. Luke’s Episcopal; offensive lineman Clay Webb, Oxford; quarterback/defensive back Cardavion Myers, Piedmont; and quarterback J.D. Martin, Wetumpka.

In winning the Mr. Football, Martin becomes the fifth running back to win the award in the last seven years and second player from North Alabama in four years, joining Kerryon Johnson of Madison Academy in 2014. He is the first player from the Decatur area to win the award.

ASWA 2017 Back and Lineman of the Year Recipients
Class 7A
Back of the Year:
Taulia Tagovailoa, Thompson, quarterback
Lineman of the Year:
Pierce Quick, Hewitt-Trussville, offensive lineman
Class 6A
Back of the Year:
Asa Martin, Austin, running back
Lineman of the Year: Marcus Jenkins, Park Crossing, defensive lineman
Class 5A
Back of the Year:
La’Damian Webb, Beauregard, running back
Lineman of the Year: Malik Langham, Lee-Huntsville, defensive lineman
Class 4A
Back of the Year:
Symon Smith, UMS-Wright, running back
Lineman of the Year: Caleb Storie, Rogers, linebacker
Class 3A
Back of the Year:
Cardavion Myers, Piedmont, quarterback/defensive back
Lineman of the Year: Andres Fox, Mobile Christian, defensive lineman
Class 2A
Back of the Year:
Jermaine Brown, St. Luke’s Episcopal, running back/quarterback
Lineman of the Year: Baraskious Dowdell, Lanett, defensive lineman
Class 1A
Back of the Year:
Shamar Lewis, Sweet Water, running back
Lineman of the Year: Devin March, Houston County, defensive lineman
Back of the Year:
Griffin McKenzie, Monroe Academy, quarterback
Lineman of the Year: Trace Ott, Autauga Academy, offensive lineman

ASWA Mr. Football Award
Recipients by year
2017 Asa Martin, Austin, running back
La'Damian Webb, Beauregard, running back
Tyler Johnston, Spanish Fort, quarterback
2014 Kerryon Johnson, Madison Academy, running back
2013 Racean “Roc” Thomas, Oxford, running back
2012 Jeremy Johnson, Carver-Montgomery, quarterback
2011 T.J. Yeldon, Daphne, running back
2010 Jamal Golden, Wetumpka, quarterback
2009 Coty Blanchard, Cherokee County, quarterback
2008 Clint Moseley, Leroy, quarterback
2007 Julio Jones, Foley, wide receiver
2006 Larry Smith, Prattville, quarterback
2005 Andre Smith, Huffman, offensive lineman
2004 Jarod Bryant, Hoover, quarterback
2003 Chris Nickson, Pike County, quarterback
2002 JaMarcus Russell, Williamson, quarterback
2001 Brandon Cox, Hewitt-Trussville, quarterback
2000 Carnell Williams, Etowah, running back
1999 Cory Whisenant, Springville, running back
1998 DeMarco McNeil, Blount, defensive lineman
1997 Mac Campbell, Alexandria, running back
1996 Antoneyo Williams, Central-Tuscaloosa, running back
1995 Gorman Thornton, Jeff Davis, tight end
1994 Dawud Rasheed, Shades Valley, running back
1993 Thomas Banks, West Jefferson, running back
1992 Freddie Kitchens, Etowah, quarterback
1991 Robert Davis, Homewood, running back
1990 David Palmer, Jackson-Olin, running back/wide receiver
1989 Steven Coleman, Pike County, running back
1988 Darrell Williams, Vigor, running back
1987 Robert Jones, Parker, running back
1986 Larry Ware, Lee-Montgomery, running back
1985 Pierre Goode, Hazlewood, running back
1984 Roderick Green, Gardendale, wide receiver
1983 Freddie Weygand, Emma Sansom, wide receiver
1982 Tommy Compton, Vigor, quarterback

Mississippi Downs Alabama 42-7 to Claim 31st Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Football Classic

    HATTIESBURG (MS) – Mississippi’s All-Stars scored 35 unanswered points in the second half Saturday to beat Alabama 42-7 in the 31st Alabama-Mississippi All-Star football game here at the University of Mississippi’s M.M. Roberts Stadium.
     With the loss, Alabama’s record in the series dropped to 22-9 overall and 0-2 in games played at Hattiesburg. Alabama won last year’s game at Cramton Bowl 25-14 and is 5-0 in games played at Montgomery since the classic was moved from Mobile in 2011. The 42 points is the most scored by Mississippi in the series and the most since beating Alabama 38-9 in 1995. Alabama’s biggest margin of victory (51-14) came in 2007.
    Alabama, coached by Steve Smith of Piedmont, started off strong, scoring on its first possession when Wetumpka’s Kavosiey Smoke scored from the 1 to cap a seven-play, 76-yard march – highlighted by Smoke’s 42-yard run. Evan McPherson of Fort Payne booted the extra point and the visitors led 7-0 with 7:03 left in the first period.
   McPherson followed with a successful onside kick recovered by Ramsay’s Starling Thomas, but a 15-yard penalty foiled Alabama’s opportunity.
    Mississippi, coached by Lance Mancuso of Jefferson Davis County, tied the game at 3:43 in the quarter following an Alabama fumble at its own 24-yard line, and Kenneth Gainwell of Yazoo County raced 24 yards on the next play for a touchdown. Brandon kicker Scott Goodman’s kick tied the game at 7-7.
   Both teams sputtered at times in the second quarter – with Alabama missing on a 51-yard field goal and Mississippi’s 48-yard field-goal try on the last play of the first half coming up a few yards short.
   Mississippi took control in the third quarter scoring three touchdowns as Alabama’s offense continued to sputter and a tiring defense that spent too much time on the field.
   Quarterback Patrick Shegog of South Panola put Mississippi ahead for good early in the third period with a 3-yard touchdown run. Marcus Murphy of West Point scored from the 2-yard line three minutes later taking advantage of Pearl defensive back Tylan Knight’s interception of Alabama quarterback James Foster’s pass at the 26-yard line as Mississippi took a 21-7 lead. Gainwell scored his second touchdown of the third quarter with 1:32 left in in the period with a 12-yard run.
    Gainwell, who finished with 56 yards rushing on nine carries to earn co-MVP honors for Mississippi with Knight, added his third touchdown in the fourth quarter on a 3-yard run.  Murphy, who rushed for a game-high 124 yards on 13 carries, added his second score with 3:53 left on a 25-yard run.
    Alabama linebacker K.J. Robertson of Thompson High School finished with seven tackles, including 3 for losses, was selected Alabama team MVP.
    Smoke led Alabama’s offensive effort with 69 yards on 10 carries. Asa Martin of Austin added 39 on 12 carries and Carlos Davis of Muscle Shoals had 38 on six attempts. Alabama had 131 yards rushing but was only 10-of-27 passing for 87 yards to finish with 218 yards. Mississippi had 187 rushing, 138 passing and 325 total yards. Each team had eight penalities with Alabama being assessed 55 penalty yards and Mississippi had 59. Both teams had two off-setting penalties as well.
     Alabama quarterbacks Jack West of Saraland was 9-of-17 passing for 71 yards and James Foster of Sidney Lanier finished 1-of-10 for 16 yards. Seth Williams of Paul Bryant had three catches for 48 yards and Justyn Ross of Central-Phenix City had one for 19 yards.
    Fort Payne kicker Evan McPherson punted six times for a 42.2 average and missed his only field-goal try.
    Jaquez Jones of Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa also had six tackles and Jamias Presley of Opelika had five. Marese McBride of Daphne also had two tackles for losses among his four stops.
   Cameron White of Madison Central led Mississippi with five stops. Knight also had five and an interception.



    HATTIESBURG (MS) – The week of preparation is over for Alabama and Mississippi All-Star football teams as both teams completed their seventh practice of the week Friday morning. The two teams square off Saturday at noon in the 31st Alabama-Mississippi Classic all-star football game at Carlisle Faulkner Field/M/M. Roberts Stadium on the campus of the University of Southern Mississippi here.
    Raycom Media will televise the game over its network of affiliates in Alabama and Mississippi with most of the stations, including WSFA TV 12 in Montgomery, showing the game over the main channel. Some of the affiliates will show the game over Raycom’s Bounce channel. To check availability, go to www.pathtotheplayoffs.com and click on “Where to Watch” or click on the following link for a story detailing the available at each affiliate: http://www.ahsaa.com/News-Articles/ArticleId/928/31st-alabama-mississippi-all-star-football-game-to-be-televised-on-main-channel-of-7-raycom-affiliates-saturday

     Alabama head coach Steve Smith said Alabama’s squad has had an outstanding week of practice. The team held a light workout Friday morning going over special teams, substitution patterns and other game details. The players participated in a community service project in Hattiesburg Friday afternoon. A banquet attended by both teams and the players’ families was scheduled for Friday night. A breakfast hosted by the Fellowship of Christian Athletes at M.M. Roberts Stadium will be Saturday morning. A “Meet the Players” time on the field will be from 10 to 11 a.m. for fans and families attending the game.
     The Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Game series, a partnership between the AHSAA and AHSADCA and the Mississippi Association of Coaches (MAC), played at Mobile’s Ladd-Peebles Stadium from 1988 to 2010. The game moved to Montgomery’s Cramton Bowl in 2011 and has been there ever since – except for the 2015 game played at Hattiesburg for the first time. Mississippi won the 2015 game 28-21 and is 1-0 at home. Last year’s game, a 25-14 win by Alabama, was played at Cramton Bowl and improved Alabama’s record to 22-8 in the series.
    Annually, the teams are comprised of 40 of the top senior players in each state. This year’s squad is no different. Since the inception of the game in 1988, many of the players had successful college careers and some have reached the NFL. More than 60 current players with Alabama roots are playing in the NFL. Among the Alabama alumni that have played in this game are current NFL players former Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston, T.J. Yeldon, Julio Jones, A.J. McCarron, ArDarius Stewart, Reuben Foster, Dre’ Kirkpatrick, Sammie Coates, Reggie Ragland, Nick Fairley, Marlon Humphrey, D.J. Fluker, C.J. Mosley and Courtney Upshaw.
   Several current Alabama All-Stars have committed to Division I schools including Paul Bryant wide receiver Seth Williams (Auburn); Austin running back Asa Martin (Auburn); Hoover wide receiver Shedrick Jackson (Auburn); Saraland quarterback Jack West (Stanford); Westminster Christian tight end Michael Parker (Alabama); Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa linebacker Jacquez Jones (Ole Miss); Stanhope Elmore tackle Jake Andrews (Troy); Eufaula defensive tackle Ka’Darian Hill (Ole Miss); Fort Payne placekicker-punter Evan McPherson(Florida); Hoover offensive lineman Mike Maye (Georgia Tech); Piedmont defensive back Cardavian Myers (Western Kentucky); Homewood wide receiver C.D. Daniels (Memphis); Ramsay defensive back Starling Thomas (UAB); Central-Phenix City offensive lineman Jahlil Ryles (Middle Tennessee); Thompson linebacker K.J. Robertson (Troy); Bob Jones linebacker Kade Koler (South Alabama); and Spanish Fort offensive lineman Grant Betts (Troy).
    Among the top players still uncommitted are Central-Phenix City wide receiver Justyn Ross; Park Crossing offensive tackle Tank Jenkins; Lee-Montgomery safety Kevontae Ruggs; Wetumpka running back Kevosiey Smoke; Theodore defensive tackle Timaje Porter; Thompson linebacker Jalen Rayam; and Sidney Lanier quarterback James Foster, who de-committed from Missouri during the fall.
    TELEVISION: The 31st annual Alabama-Mississippi Football All-Star Classic will be televised live over Raycom’s network of stations in Alabama and Mississippi. Kickoff is set for noon. Check www.ahsaa.com
for more complete details.
   RADIO: The AHSAA Radio Network will live-stream the audio over the internet and will also carry the game live over its network of radio stations across the state.

31st Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Football Game to Be Televised on Main Channel of 7 Raycom Affiliates Saturday

    MONTGOMERY -- The 31st Alabama-Mississippi All-Star football game, which kicks off at noon Saturday at M.M. Roberts Stadium on the University of Southern Mississippi at Hattiesburg, will be televised live in both states by Raycom Media.
    According to Rich Michaelson of Raycom’s Broadview Media, the game can be seen on the main channel of four of the six affiliates carrying the contest in Alabama and on three of the six stations carrying the game in Mississippi/Tennessee. It will be on the Bounce Channel of four of the other Raycom stations. The game will be on the MyNetwork D.2 channel at WTOK TV in Meridian (MS).
    MOBILE: Mobile area viewers will find the game on WFNA TV 55 at the following channels: Comcast Cable (channel 235); Cox Cable (channel 1015); U-Verse (channel 1012); Mediacom – Mobile County (channel 804); Mediacom – Baldwin County (channel 817); Dish Network (channel 55); Direct TV (channel 55).
     Handling the play-by-play will be Mississippi announcer Russ Robinson and Gary Harris of WVUA TV 23 in Tuscaloosa will be the color commentator. Rachel Richlinski will be the sideline reporter.
   Luke Robinson and Corey LaBounty will be in the radio booth for the AHSAA Radio Network’s live broadcast Saturday as well.
Raycom Media will televise the game beginning at 12 noon Saturday over its statewide network of affiliates either on the station’s main channel (available on cable or satellite) or the D.2 Bounce Channel (available on cable only or antenna TV only). In Mobile, the game will be available on WFNA TV (Bounce Channel).
Raycom will also live-stream the game with links at each affiliate and on You Tube. To find the cable channel in your area, go to www.pathtotheplayoffs.com and click on Where to Watch or go to www.ahsaa.com and click on the nearest location. Raycom affiliates and partner stations include:
Birmingham    WBRC TV Fox 6                    (Main Channel)
Dothan            WDFX TV Fox 34                  (Main Channel)
Huntsville        WAFF TV NBC 48                (Main Channel)
Mobile             WFNA TV 55 D.3                  (Bounce Channel)
Montgomery   WSFA TV NBC 12                (Main channel)
Columbus        WTVM TV ABC 9                 (Bounce Channel)
Biloxi              WLOX TV ABC/CBS 13       (Bounce Channel)
Hattiesburg     WDAM TV NBC       7          (Main Channel)
Jackson            WLBT TV NBC 3                  (Main Channel)
Meridian          WTOK TV ABC 11                (MyNetwork)
Tupelo             WTVA TV NBC 9                  (Main Channel)
Memphis         WMC TV NBC 5                    (Bounce Channel)

RADIO INFO: The Alabama Radio Network will carry the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Game over its network. Luke Robinson and Corey LaBounty will handle the announcing and Michael Forehand is the producer. The broadcast can be accessed at www.ahsaa.com or at the following link: http://mixlr.com/ahsaaradio/


    HATTIESBURG (MS) – Alabama All-Star football team head coach Steve Smith praised the effort of his players after completing their fourth workout in 36 hours Wednesday. Alabama’s 40-man team of current seniors will face Mississippi Saturday at noon in the 31st Alabama-Mississippi All-Star football classic at Carlisle Faulkner Field/M.M. Roberts Stadium on the campus of the University of Southern Mississippi.
    The Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Game series, a partnership between the AHSAA and AHSADCA and the Mississippi Association of Coaches (MAC), is making its second appearance in Mississippi after playing the first 28 games in Alabama beginning in 1988. Mississippi won the 2015 game 28-21 at Hattiesburg. Last year’s game, a 25-14 win by Alabama, was played at Cramton Bowl and improved Alabama’s record to 22-8 in the series.
   “We had a very good morning practice,” Smith said. “We dragged a little in the afternoon workout, but that is to be expected a little. The players who just finished their season have been fine, but a lot of these guys finished their season much earlier in the playoffs.”
      He was very pleased with the work of his eight offensive linemen, especially Robert E. Lee’s Cameron Hill and Spanish Fort’s Grant Betts. “Both of these guys were tackles on their teams and they are also working at center right now for us,” Smith said. “They are showing their versatility.” H-back Clay Stearns of Mountain Brook is the long snapper.
    He said Beauregard Coach Rob Carter, who is working with the offensive line this week, has been happy with the players’ eagerness to work at different positions.
    “With only eight offensive linemen, they need to be versatile,” Smith said. “They have really stood out this week.”
     Smith said quarterbacks James Foster of Sidney Lanier and Jack West of Saraland have shown steady improvement in the first four workouts. “We have a tremendously talented group of receivers, maybe the best I have ever seen in this game,” Smith said. “The quarterbacks and receivers seem to be getting a little better day with their timing.”
    He said Paul Bryant’s Seth Williams, Hoover’s Shedrick Jackson, Central-Phenix City’s Justyn Ross and  Bob Jones’ Damontrez Brown are all capable big-play receivers. “Nathaniel Watson of Maplesville is also one of the best athletes on the team and Anquaevious Pollard of Lanett is a big, talented player at 6-foot-7,” Smith said. “Our tight end Michael Parker (of Westminster Christian) is also 6-6. This is a good-looking group of guys.
    “I think our receivers will make some big plays for us on Saturday. Defensively, our front rotation is also looking good.”
  He said the secondary, linebackers and front rotation of linemen are really coming together. Smith said the coaches expect another solid practice Thursday morning at 9, and will then scale back to work more on the mental aspects of the game and special teams in tomorrow’s afternoon practice.
   Both squads were scheduled to go to Hattiesburg Country Club Wednesday night for a dinner and program. Temple Baptist Church hosted both teams Tuesday night. While two practices are set for Thursday, Alabama will go through only one workout on Friday morning at 9 a.m., and will participate in a community service project Friday afternoon.

  TELEVISION: The 31st annual Alabama-Mississippi Football All-Star Classic will be televised live over Raycom’s network of stations in Alabama and Mississippi. Kickoff is set for noon.
   RADIO: The AHSAA Radio Network will live-stream the audio over the internet and will also carry the game live over its network of radio stations across the state.



    HATTIESBURG (MS) – Alabama’s All-Star football team made great strides from the morning and afternoon practices, said Alabama All-Star head coach Steve Smith of Piedmont Tuesday.
    “The players have had a great attitude, have not just been on time but are getting where they need to be early,” Smith said. “We struggled some with our passing game in the morning workout (at Oak Grove High School in Hattiesburg) but we began to get our timing down a whole lot better in the afternoon practice. That was not unexpected, though. The quarterbacks and receivers had not worked together before and they will continue to improve as the week goes on.”
    The players and coaches reported Monday with both 40-man squads comprised of current seniors conducting two workouts Tuesday. That same schedule will be in place for Wednesday as the teams prepare for Saturday’s 31st Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Game set for a noon kickoff at Carlisle Faulkner Field/M.M. Roberts Stadium on the campus of the University of Southern Mississippi.
    The Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Game series, a partnership between the AHSAA and AHSADCA and the Mississippi Association of Coaches (MAC), is making its second appearance in Mississippi after playing the first 28 games in Alabama beginning in 1988. The game was held at Mobile’s Ladd-Peebles Stadium from 1988-2010 and moved to Montgomery’s Cramton Bowl in 2011. The MAC hosted the 2015 game at Hattiesburg with Mississippi snapping a seven-game Alabama win streak with a 28-21 win. Last year’s game, a 25-14 win by Alabama, was played at Cramton Bowl and improved Alabama’s record to 22-8 in the series.
    Smith said he has been impressed with all the Alabama all-stars. One player, Robert E. Lee’s 6-foot-4, 205-pound strong safety Kevontae Ruggs, caught all the coaches’ attention. “He is a big, strong kid who appears to only know one speed,” said Smith. Ruggs’ older brother Henry played in last year’s game – returning the opening kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown. The return was the longest in the Classic’s history. Henry is now a freshman at the University of Alabama.
   Smith also mentioned running back Asa Martin of Austin, H-back Clay Stearns of Mountain Brook, receivers CarDamien Daniels of Homewood, Shedrick Jackson of Hoover and Nathaniel Watson of Maplesville, Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa linebacker Jacquez Jones, and Park Crossing offensive lineman Tank Jenkins.  He also had high praise for place-kicker and punter Evan McPherson of Fort Payne.
    “I realized that his 60-yard field goal this past season was the longest in AHSAA history from a snap and hold,” Smith said. “But what I didn’t know was that he kicked it without a tee – right off the ground even though kicking off a tee is allowed in high school. He can really boom his kicks.”
    Smith led Piedmont to two straight Class 3A football championships in 2015 and 2016 but was beaten in the semifinals this season when Region 5 rival Randolph County scored the winning touchdown with 1.6 seconds remaining to advance to the Super 7 finals at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa.
    “This all-star game is good therapy for me,” he said. “I don’t know if I could have jumped back into it the following Monday after that loss. It was tough for my players and for me, but I was proud of our kids and proud of Randolph County. They represented our region well. When you coach this game long enough, you find yourself on both sides of a game like that. It has been a great learning experience for me and my players.
    “What we want these kids to understand in this game is that while we want to win, we need to do all we can to be prepared and then give our very best effort. If we do that, then we will be satisfied. They are doing all we ask of them.”

SUPER 7 CLASS 6A STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS Pinson Valley 31, Wetumpka 10

Pinson Valley 31, Wetumpka 10
TUSCALOOSA – Junior quarterback Bo Nix passed for one touchdown and rushed for two others as Pinson Valley (15-0) battled from a 10-7 halftime deficit to beat Wetumpka 31-10 in the 2017 Super 7 Class 6A State football championship game at Bryant-Denny Stadium.  The 6A game closed out the three-day championship extravaganza attended by 35,921 for the week.  Final day attendance was 11,659.
    The championship was the first football title in Pinson Valley history and the perfect 15-0 season was also a first – all coming in Coach Pat Nix’s first season as head coach.
     Wetumpka (13-2), coached by Tim Perry, marched 58 yards on nine plays on the game’s opening drive to take a 3-0 lead on Robert Stewart’s 24-yard field goal.  Pinson Valley responded with a 10-play, 67-yard march that culminated with Khymel Chaverst’s 1-yard touchdown run. Aiden Campbell’s extra-point kick gave Pinson a 7-3 lead.
     Wetumpka got the first big break of the game when linebacker Colton Adams intercepted a pass at the Pinson 9-yard line early in the second quarter. Two plays later senior running back Kovosiey Smoke scored from the 4-yard line and Wetumpka took the lead back 10-7. That’s how it stood at the half – thanks in part to the punting of Wetumpka quarterback J.D. Martin, who had two kicks downed inside the Pinson Valley 5-yard line.
    The second half belonged to Pinson Valley, however. Bo Nix, son of the head coach, earned 6A Game MVP honors completing 13-of-25 passes for 223 yards and rushed nine times for 22 yards – with touchdown runs covering 1 and 13 yards in the Indians’ 24-point second half.  Aiden Campbell’s 33-yard field goal midway through the third period tied the game at 10-10. Campbell followed with an onside kick on the ensuing kickoff – recovering it himself at the Wetumpka 49-yard line – a momentum changer that Wetumpka never recovered from.
    Pinson marched quickly to the go-ahead touchdown with Nix sneaking in from the 1 with 2:35 left in the quarter to give Coach Nix’s team a 17-10 lead. Bo Nix connected with LiAllen Dailey for a 23-yard touchdown pass early in the fourth quarter to extend the lead to 24-10 and Nix added his final TD run with 4:53 to play to close out the scoring.
    Pinson Valley finished with 151 yards rushing and 223 passing for 374 total yards. Wetumpka had 114 yards rushing, 52 passing and 166 total yards. The Pinson defense limited Wetumpka to only six total yards in the second half.
    Dilan Henderson led Pinson with 72 rushing yards on 10 carries and Chaverst added 57 on 18 attempts. Dailey had five catches for 93 yards, Demarion Holloman caught had four receptions for 86 yards and Henderson had two for 37.  In addition to his quarterbacking duties, Nix averaged 41.5 yards on two punts.
    Wetumpka, playing in the state finals for the first time in the school’s 117-year football history, was led by Smoke’s 66 rushing yards on 16 carries. Junior quarterback J.D. Martin had 30 yards on 14 carries and was 8-of-13 passing for 52 yards. Smoke also had two receptions for 31 yards and Keedrick Adams had four for 13 yards. Martin also punted five times for a 38.4-yard average with three kicks downed inside the Pinson 10-yard line. The 13 wins set a school record for Perry’s Indians  as well as the 613 points scored.
    Colton Adams had nine tackles and an interception to anchor Wetumpka’s defensive effort. Nicholas Turner and David Adams also had eight tackles each. Turner also had an interception.
    Jaylun Gulley and Eric Rogers had nine tackles each for Pinson Valley. Demarco Harris had seven tackles and Desmond Scott had six tackles and 1 ½ sacks – accounting for 14 yards in losses.  Ga’Quincey McKinstry made an interception.


Lanett 33, Leroy 15
TUSCALOOSA – Lanett High School overcame a 15-0 first-quarter deficit with 33 unanswered points Friday afternoon to beat Leroy 33-15 in the 2017 Super 7 Class 2A State football championship game  at Bryant-Denny Stadium. The championship was the first football title in school history and concluded a 15-0 season for Coach Christopher Story’s team – best in school history. The Panthers’ boys’ basketball team won the Class 2A state title the last two seasons.
      Leroy (12-3), coach by Jason Massey,  jumped out to a quick 15-0 lead  with two rushing touchdowns freshman running back Kelston Fikes by  in the first quarter covering 3 and 7 yards. The Bears marched 56 yards on 11 time-consuming plays on the first TD march and 52 yards on seven plays on the next one.  Leroy ‘s Daniel Waddill caught a pass from Jeb Rice for a two-point conversion after Fikes’ first TD and Trey Sullivan kicked the extra point after the second one.
    Lanett (15-0) cut the lead to 15-7 with four seconds left in the period when Terrion Truitt scooted 10 yards for the Panthers’ first touchdown. Rovilan Castro added the extra point.  Lanett tied the game with 2:34 left in the half when Ja’Won Howell scored on a dazzling 34-yard run. Truitt then scored on the two-point conversion to tie the game at 15-15 at intermission.
    The Panthers took the lead for good 21-15 with 3:27 remaining in the third period when quarterback Kristian Story, who was shaken up in the second quarter, returned to the game to direct an eight-play, 67-yard march that finished with his 10-yard pass to Braylon Harrington. Lanett pulled away in the fourth quarter with Truitt scoring on a 23 run with 4:21 left and 6-foot-7 senior receiver Anquaevious Pollard hauling in a 19-yard pass from Story for the final TD 85 seconds later.
    Story’s Panthers finished with 17 first downs, 187 yards rushing and 129 passing for 316 total yards. Lanett had 93 yards rushing and 44 passing for 137 total yards.
    Truitt finished with 90 yards rushing on 13 carries and caught one pass for 16 yards to earn MVP honors. Story rushed for 70 yards on 13 carries and was 11-of-19 passing for 129 yards and two TDs. Pollard had five catches for 66 yards.
    Freshman running back Kelston Fikes had a game-high 107 yards rushing on 27 carries and both Bears touchdowns. Leroy quarterback Nathan Taylor was 9-of-16 passing for 44 yards. Prinis Snow had two receptions for 16 yards and Daniel Waddill had one for 25 yards.
    Lanett’s Zion Lynch led the Panthers’ defense with 10 tackles.  Ja’Won Howell and Dterron Glaze also had eight each. Tifton Dobbs also had an interception. Leroy’s Dristin Weaver had 10 tackles and Brady Smith had nine to lead the Bears.
    The 2017 Super 7 State Championships conclude tonight with Wetumpka (13-1) facing Pinson Valley (14-0) in the 6A finals at 7 p.m. The game is being televised live by Raycom Media over its Raycom/AHSAA Network of affiliates and D-2 stations with WSFA TV 12 in Montgomery showing the contest on its main channel. The game is also being live video-streamed over the NFHS Network’s subscriber-based network and on You Tube. For more TV information, go to www.pathtotheplayoffs.com and click on “Where to Watch.”
    The AHSAA Radio Network is also broadcasting the final across the state. The link is available at www.ahsaa.com.


UMS-Wright 21, Fayette County 7
TUSCALOOSA – UMS-Wright posted three touchdowns in the first half as the Bulldogs beat Fayette County 21-7 to claim the AHSAA Super 7 Class 4A state football championship at Bryant-Denny Stadium Friday.
     Sophomore running back Symon Smith had 144 of his 200 yards in the first half, scoring on touchdown runs of 14 and 55 yards to spark the Bulldogs to a 21-0 lead by intermission. Will Chapman scored the other first-half TD on a 2-yard run. UMS-Wright’s defense also had its big moments too – stopping the Tigers on four downs inside the 10-yard line in the final minute of the second quarter.
    The championship was the sixth for UMS-Wright (13-2) during Coach Terry Curtis’ tenure and the seventh in school history.
         Fayette County (12-3) had the ball for just seven plays in the first quarter. The Tigers of Coach Lance Tucker opened the third period with a 10-play, 55-yard drive culminated with Chance Stevenson’s 4-yard run for the touchdown to cut the lead to 21-7. Stevenson, the Tigers’ quarterback, finished with 78 yards rushing on 21 carries and was 17-of-38 passing for 165 yards. Senior wide receiver Darius Nalls caught 11 passes for 108 yards. He finished his season with 78 receptions for 1,659 yards and 19 touchdowns.
    Will Chapman was 2-of-7 passing for seven yards for the Bulldogs.
     Fayette out-gained UMS-Wright 250 total yards to 229. The Bulldogs made four interceptions, however, with Trez Dixon swiping two for 50 yards in return yardage. Russ Myers and Conrad Inge had the other picks.  Dixon finished with eight tackles and Richard Brinson had six.  Leading the Tigers’ defense was Jamarious Jackson with eight tackles, Joe Koster, Colton Cooper and Tristan Nichols with seven each.
    The 2017 Super 7 State Championships continue today with two remaining finals: Lanett (14-0) versus Leroy (12-2) in the 2A championship at 3 p.m., and Wetumpka (13-1) facing Pinson Valley (14-0) in the 6A finals at 7 p.m.
     All games are being televised live by Raycom Media over its Raycom/AHSAA Network of affiliates and D-2 stations. The games are also being live video-streamed over the NFHS Network’s subscriber-based network and on You Tube. For more TV information, go to www.pathtotheplayoffs.com and click on “Where to Watch.”
    The AHSAA Radio Network is also broadcasting all games across the state. The link is available at www.ahsaa.com.